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Les Chansons d'Amour (Love Songs) (2007)

tomatometer

59

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 54
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 22

Love Songs is hampered by a lack of focus, but held together by Honore's deft direction and an engaging cast.

56

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 7

Love Songs is hampered by a lack of focus, but held together by Honore's deft direction and an engaging cast.

audience

78

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 6,002

My Rating

Movie Info

Though Love Songs (aka Les Chansons d'Amour) is not a film operetta per se, director Christophe Honoré and composer/lyricist/vocalist Alex Beaupain use that film to pay homage to the French movie musical as conceived by Jacques Demy in his classic Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1967). The Honoré film concerns a series of hopelessly romantic Parisian characters who are unable to convey their feelings to one another in everyday situations, and who thus use musical numbers as outlets -- as vehicles

Jun 17, 2008

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All Critics (57) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (22) | DVD (3)

Conceived by Honore as a tribute to a dead friend, the helmer is perhaps too close to his subject, never quite able to bring himself to linger on the grief that should be at pic's core.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This inexpressibly tender and lovely picture suggests that [Honoré's] developing into a major talent, one who can make the spirit of classic French movies come alive in a new world.

July 9, 2008 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As dark as these themes seem, in Honoré's capable hands, they become almost frothy and the perfect elements for a surprisingly joyous musical.

June 6, 2008 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Yes, it's weird. But it's wild card weird, with that thrill of never knowing what's coming next or when these Parisians are going to get musical on us.

June 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You'll laugh. You'll swoon.

May 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Love Songs finds the magic that the great screen musicals have -- the way a sad song can nonetheless leave an audience happy, or the way two voices blending seems to create something so much bigger.

May 2, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The terrific credit sequence sets the tone and the movie almost catches up.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Another pansexual odyssey from Christopher Honoré; this one has singing

January 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Sweetly plays on stereotypes of the French as obsessed with romance, or at least movie musicals, so regardless of any consistency or logic, love and singing conquer all.

November 27, 2008 Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com
Film-Forward.com

Starts well but loses its way in the middle section and never quite recovers, despite some catchy songs and decent performances.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

It's a story which Honoré describes as personal, so we must assume that there is some truth at least in the premise. But the decision to set the story to music undermines the emotional honesty that the piece might otherwise have had.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Sokaristiko ohi gia tin tolmi ton eikonon, i ton ideon toy, alla giati katebazei ti diastimiki apithanotita toy na brethei sokolatoyho gala ston Ari, kai soy ti serbirei me ayga kai mpeikon, les kai to pio anorthodokso pragma s' ayto, einai oti to stayrol

June 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

There's little doubt that Love Songs' reliance on mind-bogglingly ineffective musical numbers inevitably triggers its downfall...

May 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

It's one thing to emote through singing, but competing with the memory of a beloved classic is more than his gorgeous and talented cast can overcome.

May 23, 2008
Salt Lake Tribune

Oh, what a sweet, sad, sexy movie!

May 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

...an interesting exercise by writer/director Christophe Honore but it plays too unevenly.

May 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

[Christophe] Honore drops the brightness and joy of the form into the chilly, gray winter of Paris to explore love and loss and intimacy.

May 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

If you love really French films, you'll likely adore Christophe Honore's pop-musical follow-up to Dans Paris.

April 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

While the filmmaker succeeds at keeping it real most of the time, a blazing romanticism informs the whole oddly engaging endeavor; as, of course, it should.

April 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

Audience Reviews for Les Chansons d'Amour (Love Songs)

While it never remotely aproaches the greats of "Les Parapluies de Cherbourgh", which it borrows heavily from, it is a charming little musical with a surprise twist at the end.
October 23, 2011
Matheus Carvalho

Super Reviewer

[font=Garamond][size=3]"Les Chansons d'Amour" (Love Songs) is somewhat unique in that it's a musical, and it's a celebration of bisexuality. Also for a change, male bisexuality is celebrated as much as female. In fact the film's richest, longest and most loving sex scene is between two male characters. But other than that, it's pretty much what you'd expect from a Parisian film.[/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3][img]http://intimedia.kaywa.com/files/images/2007/5/480/mob358_1180030480.jpg[/img][/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]Everyone is wrapped up in slightly crazy love affairs melding love, antagonism, jealousy, and a million other things in a mysterious knot, and moments of passion are of course transcendent. We are in Paris after all. The characters say horrible things to each other and then make love with abandon the following night. I honestly don't understand how such an intelligent people as the French could continue to be fascinated by codependent cliches about love. But there it is. It's truly one of their national obsessions. Americans have their mysterious fascination with violence; the French have their navel-gazing obsession with romance.[/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3][img]http://www.blogut.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/705301726581386.jpg[/img][/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]Of course the characters also read serious literature, such as Marcel Proust. How could a French movie not include a reference to literature? Despite the cliches, "Chansons" does have an interesting undercurrent of melancholy that is to some degree distinctive. This includes tremendous grief, as one of the leading characters dies. Yet it's not played as a weepie.[/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]We watch the characters deal with both love and grief, but still there was a familiar quality to it all. It's ultimately not a very daring film, despite the music, the bisexuality, and the untimely death. With a more radical director, this could have turned into something really significant. But it wants to be too likable and commercial. I'm sure it was a gigantic hit in France. French commercial filmmakers are masters of making a film seem just a bit artistic, but not so much that it would intimidate the Parisian masses.[/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3][img]http://medias.lemonde.fr/mmpub/edt/ill/2007/05/19/h_3_ill_912219_cannes-chansonsamour.jpg[/img][/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]But how often have you seen a film where the characters suddenly start singing in the middle of a dramatic scene? At times that really is lovely. The only film that compares is Woody Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You," which came out about 10 years ago and was partly filmed in Paris. "Chansons" has no production numbers; that is, there is no dancing. And the music is not intrusive. There's no show-stopping number. The actors will be saying their lines in the normal way, and then just start singing with soft musical accompaniment on the soundtrack. [/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]The songs all seem to have been written just for the film. There are no covers of famous songs, thank heavens. All the songs are gentle, a little whimsical, and easy to listen to. All the actors appear to be doing their own singing as well, which was quite nice. There are no killer voices. It's all meant to express something a character is feeling, not demonstrate the prowess of a performer's skill.[/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]I do have to mention the leading character and the actor who plays him. I have been reading about this young actor, [b]Louis Garrel[/b], who is becoming something of a muse for writer/director [b]Christophe Honore[/b]. Most notably, the two made "Ma Mere" together (which I haven't seen) and now "Chansons." [/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]I do think there's a bit of excessive hype around this actor. He's certainly no Marlon Brando or Sean Penn. But there is perhaps at least some Heath Ledger or Ryan Gosling in him. Early in the film I found Garrel's performance to be a crass embodiment of French stereotypes. But gradually something grew on me. By the end, when the character starts surmounting his grief and falling in love again, I really got taken up by it. I felt myself falling in love along with him. [/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]At the start of the film the character is in love with a girl. At the end he's in love with a boy. But the gender aspect is irrelevant. The point is that he's falling in love. He experiences the typical homophobia that any young man feels when he falls in love with a male for the first time. But ultimately the gender is irrelevant. This character is wise and courageous enough to surmount the homophobia and simply feel the love. Garrel is strong and courageous enough as an actor to bring this to life. G[/size][/font][font=Garamond][size=3]arrel is one of the young actors on the world stage to watch.[/size][/font]

[font=Garamond][size=3]The female actors aren't really given that much to work with. Honore makes the male character the center of the story. But of all the (many) women in the film, I'd say the most significant performance comes from[b] Ludivine Sagnier[/b]. She's worked a tremendous amount in France, but this is the first time I'm seeing her. I'll be watching her in the future, in addition to Garrel.[/size][/font]
April 23, 2008
Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

A morbid French film about some beautiful, sexually ambivalent, young people dealing with the aftermath of an unavoidable tragedy. The film reminded this viewer of Romance and Cigarettes, with the characters breaking into song at various points in the story. While that could be jarring, the songs did seem to move the narrative along. The cast was well chosen. This viewer thought the older sister, Jeanne (Chiara Mastroianni) was particularly well drawn. One sensed her grief and longing although it was never explicitly expressed. Some aspects of the story might cause a bit of discomfort, but overall the story played quite high on the believability meter. The scenery was somewhat drab, even though the entire story took place in Paris, because it focused on the working class neighborhood where the characters lived and never really focused on the icons of the Paris skyline. An interesting film because of the different approach taken here, but one that could easily annoy, as well, for those who have a low tolerance for the musical format. Another three and a half stars, rounded down.
March 22, 2011
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Chanson der Liebe (DE)
  • Love Songs (Les Chansons d'Amour) (UK)
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